Good morning! My name is Jessica Armstrong and I am very happy to be here today to talk to you a bit about social media and business.You're probably wondering why I'm talking about this subject at an economic conference. While it doesn't have a direct effect on Ridgecrest's economy as a whole, it does fit the theme of “Innovation” as the concept of social media and it's applications have fundamentally altered the way our society communicates, whether person to person, group to group, or business to consumer.There is so much information that can be shared about social media that the 20 minutes I have will only scratch the surface.So, today, since there are many business owners and organizations in the area that still don't completely understand social media and its potential, I thought I would start with the basics.Then, if you would like more information, you can submit your social media questions on the cards in front of you and I will answer them on the Conference blog.
I'm going to break that down for you, touching on the three words emphasized here – democratization, publishers and conversations.
DEMOCRATIZATION: Social media has diminished the information barriers and gatekeepers that once existed between businesses and customers. These barriers and gatekeepers include money, journalists, editors and broadcast stations.Information is now delivered directly from brand to consumer. Instead of having to convince a publication or station your news is worthy enough to publish or broadcast, you can simply send it out yourself by tweet, facebook post or your own YouTube channel. All on your own time, not traditional media channel's time.READERS TO PUBLISHERS: The internet has changed our behavior. Social media has empowered users, transforming them into publishers. The content created by publishers is referred to as “user-generated content.”This transfer of power means users are now in control of their relationships with brands and organizations as well as the terms of engagement. They tell you when, where and how they want to engage.CONVERSATION: Information distribution is no longer happening linearly. It's no longer about one entity broadcasting a message to the masses. Distribution is now through a network of conversations, a multi-directional branching from the origin of the message where each branch then becomes a whole network in of itself.
There are many types of social media and even more applications.This is the Conversation prism. There are 28 different types of social media which are listed on the outside and hundreds of applications and platforms, created thus far, for function are represented within the colored portion. The inner portion is their corresponding uses, strategy and where they fit within business.Some of the types you may have used or heard of:Social networks – Facebook, MySpaceVideo sharing – YouTube, VimeoPhoto sharing - FlickrLocation based – Foursquare, GowallaReviews and researching – YelpOthers you may not have heard of or consider to be social media include:Social commerce and group buying – GrouponSocial Customer Relationship Management (sCRM) – Get SatisfactionLivecasting – Ustream, KyteLooks overwhelming, but the goal is not to use each one but to choose which would work best for your business or organization based on your business and marketing goals and target publics.
Now that we've discussed what social media is and the types of social media, let's go over social media's effect on business.
Today, consumers expect much more from businesses if those businesses want to be patronized. First, the nature of social media makes businesses change the way they view customers from an opportunity to sell to a chance to connect with them.Second, businesses are learning that online communities are fragmented markets that won't respond to the larger marketing and communications campaigns of the past, but rather to more individualized outreach, offers and updates.Third, controlling the messages is no longer an option for brands as social media users are pushing them to be more transparent.Last, users insist, now, on brands being more accessible than before and provide responses in a timely manner.Why should that matter to you?
CommunitiesBecause the popularity and growth of social media means that consumer decision to start or continue being a patron of a business is rendered in social terms – in dialogues.These dialogues are occurring in existing communities and your customers are part of them. They're talking about your business or brand, in real time, and the conversations can't be controlled.Whether you like it or not.
Relationships & Customer ServiceThose communities are about the relationships. Many of the smaller businesses in Ridgecrest area an advantage with social media because their smaller customer base enables them/you to personally respond to customers, provide more personalized customer service and build stronger relationships.Social media provides businesses the opportunity to glimpse into peoples' lives and find out their needs and desires, as they pertain to a product, cause or industry, and respond in a timely mannerAllows also allows you, the business owner, non-profit director, college president, to become a thought leader in your industry; the go-to person or business in a consumer's mind for something specific
The relationship building I just mentioned enables better customer servicePeople increasingly turn to social media to share good and bad experiences they've had with a brandParticipation in social media is another avenue for businesses to address negative feedback and turn each into a positive experience.It's also a channel to tell customers how much business is appreciated and provide incentives to come back.If negative feedback is handled well, current and future patrons will believe they will be treated just as well should an issue arise for them.Essentially, social media turns customer service into a marketing tool.
Content Sharing & Brand AwarenessContent is king online.Through sharing engaging content on social media channels, you help to create awareness of your brand.Posting meaningful and beneficial content on social media and engaging customers around that content, provides the impetus for them to pass it on through their various social networks, perpetuating the brand among their friends and family members.
Can improve your business being foundPeople are researching and comparing products and businesses online while living only a few miles away from a source; making decisions about purchases before they ever set foot in your storeNearly half of in store purchases are influenced by online research.Ideally, when people research a product or service online, you want your business or organization to be in the top returned resultsSince social media is indexed by two major search engines Google & Bing and tweets now appear in subject-related searches, that's possible.Its use creates more searchable content online and creates more opportunities to be found than if you had a website alone;If linked, also drives traffic back to your website where you can provide information about your business and products to help consumer decision and drive into your store or officeLocals aren't the only people performing searches about products and services in Ridgecrest; visiting workers, recreationalists stopping before heading to Death Valley, camping, to the petroglyphs and potential employees are all looking for information on the area
Social media is ubiquitous. It's big, evolving and here to stay.This graphic demonstrates the connections of some the over 600 million Facebook account holders worldwide.Did you know that Facebook is the second most visited site on the entire internet? Can you guess what the most visited site is?Google.Google was founded roughly 12.5 years ago, while FB was founded in 2004.
Since we are at an economic conference, I have a couple statistics to show you...In 2010, Generation Y surpassed the Baby Boomers to become the largest generation.And 96 percent of them have joined a social network! [CITE]But...
....social media is not just the playground of kids and young adults. The fastest growing demographic for Facebook and other social media is age 50 and over.From April 2009 to May 2010 social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled―from 22 to 42 percent - (Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, Aug. 2010).
The most important step that you can take when starting a social media plan is to LISTEN.Find and join communities online that are related to your biz and listen to the conversations going on. The fastest way to get everyone to ignore you is to go straight into a community and give off a “sell, sell, sell” attitude.One way to find those communities is to perform a Google search of your company or organization name and set up a Google alert to monitor what people say about your biz, the industry and even your competitorsConsider listening part of your primary research before you participate in social media.
Before you even start planning your social media program, consider this old cliché which even applies to social media.What I mean by this is you need to benchmark where you are in your social media efforts before you plan to use it or change your plans for using it so that you can gauge where you are throughout the administration of your marketing or communications plan as well as when it comes time to evaluate the plan as a whole.When it comes to marketing and advertising, the resulting numbers of the monitoring and evaluation a plan or campaign would be called its return on investment, or ROI.But, social media can't be purely measured on numbers, because it's about connections, relationships and engagement. Measuring social media should depict a return on engagement, or ROE.The monitoring and measuring discipline within social media is not an exact science yet, so the choice of what to measure will be up to what you believe is important for your business.For many of you, your benchmark will be at zero because you're just starting out. Others have already begun dabbling so you may have something more significant to evaluate from. Monitoring your social media program is important to your understanding of what is and isn't working with the communities that you engage with.
In terms of Planning...Social media is one part of the overall marketing/communications mixIt should be tied to your overall business goals and objectives and should complement traditional communications and marketing channelsThe types, applications and platforms of social media discussed earlier in the Conversation Prism are tactics. Before using them, they require a strategy. As the diagram shows, the applications are just the tip of the iceberg. The reasoning, research, planning, objectives, audience, and monitoring are what supports their successful implementation.Just because you see other businesses hop on a certain social network bandwagon because they think it's what they're supposed to do, doesn't mean you need to follow. Limit the networks you use to what fits your audiences best, you feel comfortable with and have time for and what drives the best results for your business or organization.If you follow the first tip – listen - you'll discover where your audience is and how to engage them.But, have realistic goals - It will take time and consistent effort to achieve meaningful results. There is no instant awesome.
Approach SoMe with the intent of providing benefits to your customers/constituent/students. Create engaging content that provides value to your followers and fans; is easy to find and worth passing onGet creative and, if it fits with the personality of your brand/business, ridiculous. For example, the Blendtec “Will it blend?” viral videos from 2007. he videos were born from a tiny marketing budget and desire to branch from a commercial to a consumer market. All Blendtec did was take an act that the company CEO had already been doing for years, the blending of various objects for testing, and put it out front and center for all to see. They then engaged those watching by blending the items they suggested. Having dramatically increased brand and product awareness, it became one of the most successful viral video campaigns in history and still continues today.I believe consumers like to know behind the scenes information and the personalities behind the business or brand. This is both a behind-the-scenes look starring the real CEO as well as a clever demonstration of the product.
CommunityMy final tip and the second most important behind listening:Social media is not about you. It's about empowering the community. It's about not controlling the conversation and letting go of the message. It's about being authentic and transparent and opening yourself and your business up to your customers. It's about engaging.
to Social Mediaand BusinessAn IntroductionH. Jessica Armstrong2011 IWV Economic Outlook Conference
“Social Media is the democratization ofinformation, transforming people from contentreaders into publishers. It is the shift from abroadcast mechanism, one-to-many, to amany-to-many model, rooted in conversationsbetween authors, people, and peers.”
COMMUNICATIONSMEDIASpace defined by media ownerBrand in controlOne way/ Delivering a messageRepeating the messageFocused on the brandEntertainingCompany created contentSOCIAL MEDIASpace defined by consumerConsumer in controlTwo way/ ConversationAdapting the messageFocused on the consumerInfluencing, involvingUser created content
Thank you.Photos & GraphicsSlide 1 – Flickr photo from KayVee.INCSlide 3 – Recreated from “Whats Next in Media” by Neil Perkin.www.slideshare.net/neilperkin/whats-next-in-mediaSlide 4 – By Brian Solis and JESS3.www.theconversationprism.com.Slide 6 - Flickr photo from Intersection ConsultingSlide 7 - Flickr photo from lovestruckSlide 8 - Flickr photo from fensterbmeSlide 9 - Flickr photo from Intersection ConsultingSlide 10 - Flickr photo from maczydecoSlide 11 - Flickr photo from whurleySlide 12 - www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/visualizing-friendships/469716398919Slide 15 - Flickr photo from WildebeestSlide 17 - Flickr photo from Intersection ConsultingSlide 18 – Own screengrab from YouTubeSlide 19 - Flickr photo from Jenser (Clasix-Design)Stats & QuotesSlide 2 – Brian Solis. www.briansolis.comSlide 13 -http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/print-edition/2010/12/24/businesses-cant-ignore-mushrooming.htmlSlide 14 - Pew Research Centers Internet& American Life Project, Aug. 2010.Questions?Visit the IWV Economic OutlookConference blog atwww.iwveoc/blog or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.